Sask. NDP calls for local voices to be heard in healthcare

Local leaders and healthcare workers are feeling left out of healthcare decisions.

That is the message from the Offical Opposition two weeks into their Health Solution Tour.

Health Critic Vicki Mowat calls on the government to bring back the Community Health Advisory Networks that were dismantled when the health regions amalgamated into the single Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“In every corner of the province, hospitals and health centres are closed, and families struggle to find a family doctor,” she said. “It’s clear health region amalgamation and the centralizing of healthcare decisions have failed to deliver reliable, high-quality care for people who need it. Local people and community leaders know what their communities need – it’s time to bring those voices back to the table.”

Community Health Advisory Networks (CHANs) existed in former health regions to provide the local community and physician-based solutions that would meet the unique needs of the communities they served.

She says every region has specific needs, and community leaders know what they are, so it’s time to bring those voices back to the table.

“Local leaders and health care workers do not feel they are being respected by this government, do not feel they are being listened to by this government,” Mowat said. “In many cases, the local leaders have already come together and have some really good solutions in place and just aren’t being provided with the ear of the government to provide those solutions.”

Critic for Rural and Remote Health, Matt Love, notes that in 2016, before the amalgamation, the Saskatchewan Advisory Panel on Health System Structure Report recommended these networks be strengthened instead of eliminated.

In 2020, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association adopted a resolution calling for the Health Minister to ensure direct municipal input and involvement in the health system by bringing the Community Health Advisory Networks back.

“We’re only two weeks into our Health Solutions Tour, and one thing is crystal clear – local leaders feel shut out of healthcare decision-making,” said Love. “The Minister needs to listen to his government’s own report and bring back Community Health Advisory Networks to restore local voices in healthcare.”

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